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Monday, December 30, 2013

Accentuate the Positive 2013

Jill Ball from the GeniAus blog has challenged bloggers to end the year on a high note with her Accentuate the Positive geneameme. I’m in!

Jill provided a list of 20 prompts for response. As this has been a quiet year for me in terms of genealogy I am not able to respond to many of the prompts – but there certainly have been some positives along the way.

A precious family photo I found that arrived in my email inbox was an old group photo of staff in a control room at the Melbourne City Council power station, including my grandfather. My Dad found it in an envelope at his house and emailed a scan to me just three days ago. He thought I would like it. He was right.

A newly found family member who shared their documents and stories is always a wonderful thing! I have been approached by a few this year. I have also provided them with information, including newspaper reports of an inquest of one of their direct ancestors.

A long term contact who is is still sharing their new finds as they make them is also wonderful. I have a few of those as well.

My 2013 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was my warning to Check your Google Alerts. I only put up five posts during the year and it was a positive that, despite keeping a low profile lately, it appears that people still read when I do post. Thank you for keeping me in your feed.

A genealogy book course that taught me something new was the National Institute for Genealogical Studies course on “Electronic Resources: Using The Internet”. Actually, I found this course very easy as I have had some exposure to the internet before... I even have a blog... The great positive about this was that it was good to start studying again and I think I made the right choice by doing an ‘easy’ course to get back into study mode again. In January I start on the “Australia: Convict Resources” course which I expect to find much more challenging.

Another positive I would like to share is lawn bowls. I don’t play, but I do now hold a set of lawn bowls that were originally owned by my great-great-grandfather and bear his initials. They have been at my Dad’s house and I finally asked to take them (the great-great-grandfather in question was on my mother’s side) a few weeks ago. I brought them home with me on Christmas day.

Yet another positive is knowing that while I have been quiet on the genealogy front, the availability of digitised documents and indexed collections online continues to grow. When I’m ready to get stuck into it again I know there will be plenty of new resources and surprises to look forward to.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Check your Google alerts!

What’s a Google alert? It’s an automatic notification that Google has found something new matching search terms of your choice. It’s very handy.

I have just discovered that for some time now many of my carefully crafted Google alerts have not been working. The reason is that I had used the + search operator. Until a year or two ago, + could be used to force Google to include a particular +word in the search result. No longer. Now you must do the same thing by putting quote marks around the “word”.

I read about it when the change happened, and have used it when searching, but it never occurred to me to check that my alert search terms still worked.

So, go and check your Google alerts!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Wrapped up in technology

One of the things that I most enjoy, and that causes me most frustration, with family history research is all the little side tracks. Frustration, because I never seem to get to where I’m aiming (but I do have fun along the way).

I am particularly susceptible to getting wrapped up in the technology. I’m still enjoying Family Historian genealogy software, but find myself (happily) side-tracked into trying to write plugins for the program.

You see, I aspire to be lazy and I am prepared to devote a great deal of time and effort into pursuit of this goal. Up to and including learning just enough of a scripting language embedded in my software to make the computer do anything that I deem too boring and repetitive to do myself.

So far I have only made plugins for my own use. I have some ideas in mind that maybe, if I’m brave enough, I might try to write and publish to the plugin store for any Family Historian v5 user to download.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Brightening my world, or at least my screen

One of my goals is to improve my skills at digital photo restoration.

All the tutorials and practice in the world won’t get me me good results correcting the colour in photos if my monitor isn’t displaying the results correctly. With this in mind, I bought a middle-of-the-range monitor calibration device.

I have just calibrated my monitor for the first time. I’m now trying to get used to the richer, bolder colours on my screen!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Back again

Although my posts of late have been non-existent, I’m still here.

One of the most useful things about blogging, aside from the interaction with like-minded people, is the record it provides of work done. As I ease back into the blogosphere, I am going to concentrate on just that. Recording the genealogy work I am doing.

There are a few areas I am focusing on right now.

  • I’m getting back in to the courses I booked at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. My next course starts Monday. It’s “Electronic Resources: Using The Internet” which I think I will find pretty straightforward, so a good one to ease back into things.
  • Research work – not doing a lot for now. I’d like to try and get more information on James Bennett, the hope of determining his death date. My lead on this is the land records and I think it will require a research trip to Melbourne.
  • Cousin correspondence. I have been an infrequent correspondent of late. I have some catching up to do!
  • DNA. I have had both myself and my father tested, and two of my father’s cousins have tested as well all at FTDNA. I’ve also tested at 23andME and AncestryDNA. I’m trying to work out a way of semi-automating looking at the details, so that there’s not a whole lot of manual work to so when a DNA match gets in touch with me.
  • Photo restoration. One of the things I really love doing is learning to digitally restore photos. I would like is to become really, really good at it – if I do, prospectively, say so myself! For me it’s the perfect way to blend three things I enjoy: art, playing with tech tools, and of course genealogy. I have in mind a series of posts – again, mostly in order to document for myself what I am doing but they may also be of help to others. 

That seems like plenty to be getting on with.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Miss me?

It's been a while since I have blogged here regularly. One of the nice things about genealogy is that you can put it aside for a while when you need to. Those pages (or memories) may have faded a little more, but on the other hand there's usually a whole lot more digitised records online.

I hope to get back into my family history work, and this blog, soon. Meanwhile, I am looking after myself in other ways. If you want to read about my exertions, and I do mean exertions, take a peek at my other blog.